Three new charter schools opening in Michigan this fall

Buddy Moorehouse
Sep 2, 2021 9:59:22 AM

Three new charter schools are opening this fall in Michigan, including the first-ever charter school in the Upper Peninsula’s Keweenaw Peninsula. The announcement of the new schools is being made today by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), the state charter school association.

In addition to the new schools that are opening, one charter school has closed this year – ACE Academy, a Strict Discipline Academy in Highland Park. There will be 294 charter schools in Michigan this fall.

This is tied for the fewest number of charter schools that have opened in a single year in Michigan, dating back to when the first charters opened in the state in 1994. There were also just three new schools in 2019.

The new schools opening this fall will provide some diverse educational opportunities in several parts of the state, said MAPSA President Dan Quisenberry.

“A charter school only opens when there’s a defined need for it in the community,” Quisenberry said. “You have to demonstrate that you’ll be providing a quality educational option that isn’t currently available in the area. We’re very excited about the schools that are opening this fall. It’s especially noteworthy to see the first charter school opening in the Keweenaw Peninsula, in the northernmost part of the state. That’s an area where parents have had almost no school choice in the past.”

Here’s a look at the three new charter schools opening in Michigan this fall:

Copper Island Academy, Calumet
Authorized by Central Michigan University. The Keweenaw Peninsula’s first charter school was founded by a team of educators from the area. Owing to the many Finns in the area, Copper Island Academy’s curriculum will be based on the Finnish education model, an individualized and classical approach that’s tailored to each student’s abilities and needs. Copper Island Academy will serve grades K-8.

Bridge Academy of Southwest Michigan, Benton Harbor
Authorized by Central Michigan University. A high school, Bridge Academy of Southwest Michigan is located inside the Michigan Works! facility in Benton Harbor. It’s a career-focused high school that aims to “bridge” the gap between education and employment for southwest Michigan students. It provides a career-focused education to students who have struggled or experienced setbacks in other educational settings.

New Dawn Academy, Sterling Heights
Authorized by Saginaw Valley State University. A K-8 school with a STEM focus, New Dawn Academy has a mission to serve a diverse cultural community. The school places a special emphasis on serving English Language Learners in a bilingual environment. New Dawn Academy will offer hands-on learning as the students focus on science, technology, engineering and math.

The cap on university-authorized charter schools was lifted by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder in late 2011. The law went into effect in 2012. Since then, here’s how many new charter schools have opened each year:
2012 - 31
2013 - 32
2014 - 17
2015 - 6
2016 - 7
2017 - 7
2018 - 9
2019 - 3
2020 - 4
2021 - 3

Three students swing on a tire swing.

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